For the first time in the second-half, the RiverDogs dropped back-to-back games as Charleston fell in Saturday night’s opener 5-2 to Lakewood in front of an announced crowd of 3,845 at Joe Riley Park.
Centerfielder Estevan Florial snapped out of a cold stretch with a 3-for-4 evening that included a double to raise his average to .292. Right fielder Isiah Gilliam also roped his team-leading 22nd double of the season as part of a two-hit night.
Despite the loss, Charleston will remain at least 1.5 games up in the Southern division second half standings over Asheville heading into Sunday.
In his fifth start of the season for the RiverDogs, 19-year-old Dominican Republic native Rony Garcia tallied a season high six and 2/3 innings, but suffered his first loss as he gave up four runs in the first three innings to put Charleston into an early hole.
Garcia surrendered a leadoff double to begin the game to second baseman Daniel Brito. Shortstop Arquimedes Gamboa walked before Brito scored on a hard-hit ball that bounced past Diego Castillo at second for an error. Designated hitter Henri Lartigue grounded out to deliver an RBI that made it 2-0 Lakewood.
Lakewood tacked more on in the third. Brito waked to lead off the frame before center field replacement Jesus Alastre singled to right putting runners on first and second. Hall doubled to right bringing in Brito. Lartigue hit a sac fly to center that brought in the BlueClaws’ fourth run.
Charleston got their first run in the fourth. Catcher Donny Sands doubled then scored from an RBI single from Gilliam.
The two sides traded runs in the eighth before closer Will Hibbs entered in the ninth to register his 12th save of the season just six days after yielding a two-run, go-ahead homer in the ninth to Blake Rutherford on Sunday in Lakewood.
-per Charleston RiverDogs